For Jamie Scott, an $11 Robbery in Mississippi May Carry a Death Sentence

by | March 5, 2010

On February 25, a small crowd gathered outside the state capitol in Jackson, Mississippi, to push for the release of sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott, who are serving two consecutive life sentences apiece for a 1993 armed robbery in which no one was injured and the take, by most accounts, was about $11. Supporters of the Scott sisters have long tried to draw attention to their case, as an extreme example of the distorted justice and Draconian sentencing policies that have overloaded prisons, crippled state budgets, and torn families apart across the United States. But in recent months, their cause has taken on a new urgency, because for Jamie Scott, an unwarranted life sentence may soon become a death sentence.

Jamie Scott, now spending her 16th year in prison.

Jamie Scott, 38, is suffering from kidney failure. At the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF) in Pearl, where Jamie and Gladys are incarcerated, medical services are provided by a private contractor called Wexford Health Sources, which has been the subject of lawsuits and legislative investigations in several states over inadequate treatment of the inmates in its care. According to Jamie Scott’s family, in the six weeks since her condition became life-threatening, she has endured faulty or missed dialysis sessions, infections, and other complications. She has received no indication that a kidney transplant is being considered as an option, though her sister is a willing donor.

Jamie Scott’s family and legal advisors believe the poor health care she is receiving in prison places her life at risk. They have sent pleas for clemency or compassionate release to Governor Haley Barbour, whose tough-on-crime posturing and dubious record on issuing pardons do not bode well for Jamie. According to a local television station that reported on the rally at the capitol, a spokesperson for Barbour said: “Jamie Scott was tried, convicted and incarcerated, and she is receiving her care with the Department of Corrections.” 

The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) has a provision for what it calls “conditional medical release,” but Scott is not a candidate, department spokesperson Suzanne Garbo Singletary said in an email last week, because “MDOC policy provides that an inmate must have a condition that is ‘incapacitating, totally disabling and/or terminal in nature’ in order to qualify.” So Jamie Scott appears to be caught in a deadly Catch-22: In order to be released from prison, she must convince the MDOC that her illness is terminal or “totally disabling”; but the only sure way for her to prove this is to die in prison.





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  • Terry C - NJ

    If they had been rich and white, they would have gotten community service.

  • 3/11 – JAMIE SCOTT IS SUFFERING WITH PAIN, SWELLING, INFECTION AND WEAKNESS & NEEDS IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION OUTSIDE OF THE PRISON! Her catheter is clogged with pus & her hands, feet, & ankles are swollen. She is in tremendous pain & very weak. Please contact the governor and commissioner to release her from the horrible conditions she is in & the poor medical care that she is receiving. GOV. BARBOUR’S OFFICE, 1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150 // Christopher Epps, Commissioner of Prisons, 601-359-5600,

  • Marya

    There is no human compassion in the soul of Haley Barbour. He is also guilty of the sin of gluttony, while many of his constituents go hungry.
    Jesus Christ would be totally ignored or called a progressive if he came again today. And he would tell the wealthy to give away their riches if they hoped to achieve the kingdom of heaven. All of those tv ministers, Joel and the rest,and the Republican party,would deny him and his message.
    Wonder what Christ thinks of Rush and Beck?

  • Marya

    I am reminded of the torture and murder of 14 yr. old Emmett Till in Mississippi, whose killers sat in the courtroom and laughed and kissed their wives for the photographers outside.
    Mississippi will never be able to make up for the human misery it has caused its african-american citizens.
    It is a blessing that most of these citizens are just good, long-suffering people, or there would not be a white person allowed to live in that state.

  • Alan

    With prison violence and the mass use of isolation every sentence is a possible death sentence. It could take the form of mental illness or suicide brought on by the isolation, the contraction of incurable diseases such as aids, or hepatitis contracted when raped amongst other means, or just the death of ones spirit. Prison’s affects are unpredictable but predictable negative.

    California man gets eight years for stealing cheese Robert Ferguson was sentenced under the ‘three strikes’ law, as critics again plea for reform of state’s overcrowded prisons

    California man gets eight years for stealing cheese
    Robert Ferguson was sentenced under the ‘three strikes’ law, as critics again plea for reform of state’s overcrowded prisons
    Wednesday 3 March 2010
    The Guardian
    Daniel Nasaw

    A California man has been sentenced to up to eight years in prison for stealing a $3.99 (£2.60) bag of shredded cheese in a case critics say shows the need for reform of the state’s criminal justice system and the overcrowded state of its prisons.

  • Rev. Alan Laird

    It is bone chilling to the spirit to have knowledge of Jamie’s state of condition, and also having the knowledge that there are so many suffering in the same way. It would seem law was created to protect,and preserve,and not to mete out treacherous justice. We must somehow find a way to once again extract a grain of salt from the sea of humility…compassion….and agape love…not confined in religousity…but the infinite domain of spirituality and humand kindness.,,,

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